Get to know a little more about the men you are praying for as they continue to prepare for the priesthood.
Year of Study: Theology I
Home Parish: Saint Philip Church, Greenville
Where did you grow up and go to school?
I grew up in my hometown of Smithfield, RI. This is where I first became involved with my local parish, Saint Philip, when I attended the parochial school there from pre-kindergarten through my graduation from eighth grade in 2012. The decision of my parents to purposefully send me to a school that taught the fullness of the truth, found in the Catholic faith, influenced me in my decision to attend a Catholic high school as well — La Salle Academy. After graduating in 2016, I was accepted into Providence College where I spent one year as a freshman. At the beginning of my sophomore year, I was accepted as a seminarian at Our Lady of Providence Seminary and continued my studies at Providence College. This past May, after graduating from Providence College with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, I was assigned by Bishop Tobin to finish my seminary studies at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, Italy.
How did you discern your vocation to the priesthood?
I began discerning my vocation when I was in ninth grade. At this point in my life I became involved in a group of young people at my parish, which motivated me to live my Catholic faith more intentionally. In growing closer to God, I felt my heart start to become moved toward an interest in the priesthood. Thankfully, during this time when I was in high school, a newly ordained priest was assigned to my parish who noticed the seeds of a vocation to the priesthood beginning to sprout in my life and took great care to assist me in cultivating them. Through many years of prayer and conversation with holy priests (especially the pastor and assistant pastor at Saint Philip), as well as three years of formation in college seminary, it became clearer and clearer that God was revealing to me that His plan for my life was to be a priest of Jesus Christ.
What would you say to a young man discerning the priesthood — or maybe hasn’t even considered it at all?
Firstly, a true and rigorous discernment of one’s vocation in life means openness to both marriage and celibate priesthood. Intentionally closing yourself off to a certain vocation essentially means you are not turning your own will over to God in order to participate in the plan He has for your life. That being said, the nervousness and anxiety that causes many young men to turn away from discerning priesthood is partially caused by the illusion that the life of a priest is one of more sacrifice as opposed to the married life. In both vocations a man is called to lay down his life, in one for the Church and in the other for his spouse. Yet, through the difficult sacrifices the Lord asks of us in both vocations, if we know we have turned ourselves over to the will of God, we will be destined for a life of happiness — which is what God wants for us. So, listen to the Lord closely in your heart and completely submit your will to Him. By doing so, these anxieties that arise from our prideful desire to have control over our lives fade away and He who wrote the plan for your life guides you toward fulfillment.
How do you feel we can best support seminarians?
Throughout my time in seminary I have encountered support from the Catholic faithful in the Diocese in so many creative ways. Giving up natural fatherhood to confer supernatural life as a priest means that we have great opportunities to enter into the family lives of so many — which is such an incredible blessing. Every note, card, or word of encouragement certainly never goes unnoticed and is incredibly reaffirming. Though, most of all, nothing is more important than the prayers that are said on our behalf. No man is worthy to be a priest, but is given his ministry through a total gift from God. Therefore, the many prayers said for seminarians go a long way in beseeching the Lord for the grace we need in formation and in our ministry.
What is the most surprising part about being a seminarian?
Without a doubt, I was most surprised by the great growth that can be achieved by being part of a community of my male peers who are all striving toward the same goal of holiness that I am. The great fraternity that is found in seminary formation has been one of the greatest gifts that God has provided me with over the past few years. The environment of the seminary to pray, learn, and grow in friendship with your brother seminarians is perfect for any young man who is working on listening for the Lord’s call to a certain vocation while growing in Christian virtue. The common goal of priesthood is a bond that strongly unites us and has been the opportunity for great — hopefully lifelong — friendships.
Is there any person or saint whom you credit with interceding on your behalf to God for your vocational discernment?
It is no surprise that the two saints that I look to for support most often are two priest saints of the religious order that run the college I have attended while in seminary, Saint Dominic — the founder of the Order of Preachers — and Saint Thomas Aquinas, the Angelic Doctor. Saint Dominic was a 12th century Spanish priest who was known for his excellent preaching and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Tradition holds that the Blessed Mother bestowed the rosary upon Saint Dominic in a miraculous apparition. Saint Thomas Aquinas, joining this new religious order created by Saint Dominic about 30 years after its founding, became one of the most influential minds in theology and a very helpful intercessor when it comes to academics. Saint Thomas is well known for his extraordinary devotion to the Eucharist and serves as an inspiration and holy support in my devotion as a seminarian and, God willing one day as a priest, to Christ’s presence in the Most Holy Eucharist.
Favorite Hobbies and/or fun fact about yourself:
I have a great interest for both history and travel. Thankfully, I have been extremely blessed to have many opportunities to travel around the country while I was growing up and be an eyewitness to the location and happenings of the many great things that fill our country’s history. While I have not had as much of an opportunity to travel overseas to experience the rest of the world, I hope to be a witness to the thousands of years of tradition that fill the ancient city of Rome when I begin my studies there at the end of this summer.
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